Sibling Inheritance Rights in the UK: The Secret Ways Siblings Can Cut You Out of Inheritance

Sibling Inheritance rights in the UK can be a sensitive topic, particularly when navigating the legal landscape and family dynamics.

In the UK, the question of whether a sibling can claim inheritance is not always straightforward.

This article aims to shed light on this subject and guide you through the intricacies of sibling inheritance rights.

Sibling Inheritance Rights in the UK: Understanding the Rules of Intestacy

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When someone in the UK dies without a valid will, their estate is distributed according to the intestacy rules of England and Wales (if residing in England or Wales).

If residing in Northern Ireland, the estate is distributed according to the intestacy rules of Northern Ireland.

These rules dictate a specific order of individuals entitled to inherit:

Spouse or civil partner

They inherit the entire estate if there are no surviving children.

If there are children, the spouse/civil partner receives the first £250,000, plus half of the remaining estate, and the children inherit the other half

Children and grandchildren

If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner, the children inherit the entire estate in equal shares.

If a child has predeceased the deceased, their surviving children (grandchildren of the deceased) inherit their parents’ share.


If there are no surviving spouse/civil partner, children, or grandchildren, the deceased’s parents inherit the entire estate equally.

Full siblings

This is where things get interesting.

Full siblings (those who share both parents with the deceased) only inherit if there are no surviving spouse/civil partner, children, grandchildren, or parents.

In this case, they inherit the entire estate if there is only one sibling or in equal shares if there are multiple siblings.

Half siblings

Half siblings (those who share only one parent with the deceased) do not inherit under the intestacy rules unless named as beneficiaries in a will.

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The Power of a Will

Having a valid will is crucial to ensure your wishes regarding your estate are followed, superseding the intestacy rules.

You can choose to include or exclude specific individuals, including siblings, from inheriting your assets.

If you have strong opinions about sibling inheritance in your specific situation, consulting with a solicitor to create a will is highly recommended.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Inheritance laws can be complex, and seeking professional legal advice from a solicitor specializing in probate law is essential if you are:

Unsure about your rights as a sibling regarding your deceased relative’s estate.

Facing a situation where the intestacy rules don’t align with your expectations.

Considering contesting a will or requesting reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

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Do siblings have inheritance rights UK?

Siblings do have inheritance rights in the UK, but it depends on several factors as shown below:

Intestacy (No Will)

If a person dies without a will then their estate is distributed according to the intestacy rules.

Siblings (usually full siblings) inherit if there is no surviving spouse/civil partner, children, or parents.

If there are multiple siblings, they inherit the estate in equal shares.

Having a Will

A valid will can override the intestacy rules.

The deceased person can choose to include or exclude siblings from their will, regardless of their family relationship.


Half-siblings (who share one parent with the deceased) generally do not have automatic inheritance rights under UK intestacy laws.

What is considered a large inheritance UK?

Defining a “large inheritance” in the UK is subjective and depends on several factors, including:

Individual circumstances: Your income, lifestyle, and financial goals significantly influence your perception of “large.”
National averages: While not a definitive measure, the UK Office for National Statistics reports the average inheritance received in the UK in 2021-2022 was around £171,000.

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General guidelines can help you gauge the potential size of an inheritance:

Tax thresholds: In the UK, inheritance tax (IHT) is applicable only to the segment of an estate surpassing the £325,000 threshold (as of February 2024).

Regional Differences: There are considerable variations in the cost of living and housing prices throughout the UK.

Long-term financial security: Ideally, an inheritance should provide financial security and support your long-term goals.

This could involve paying off debt, covering future expenses like education or retirement, or allowing for investments.

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